Help us to do more!

This is Naomi and Jo. They have been volunteering at the Hearts Milk Bank since May. They check, sort and pasteurise the milk donated by scores of wonderful mums, so that it is ready to feed tiny babies in neonatal units across our region. They have been very busy. In the last three months, they have pasteurised over 150 litres of donated milk, and so much is coming in that we have almost run out of freezer space!

At the moment, the SERV Herts and Beds riders keep the Hearts Milk Bank going by picking up and delivering donated milk, alongside their vital work couriering blood products. They are simply wonderful volunteers, who drop everything to help out for nothing more than a cup of tea and a biscuit. However, if we increase our workload any more, we will place an unreasonable burden on these wonderful bikers.

Amazingly, we have been given the opportunity to convert a car into a freezer vehicle, which could deliver milk to hospitals across the region at short notice. For £3000, we could relieve the burden on SERV, and use it to pick milk up from our Expresso Clubs (coming soon), where donors can come together to be recruited as milk donors, and mums can get free advice from a lactation consultant (watch this space!).

Please help us – if we can raise the grand sum of £5000, we can not only buy two freezers large enough to store all the milk we are receiving, but also convert a car into a Milk Mobile!

Make Jo and Naomi even happier, and click here to help us to help even more babies.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/heartsmilkbank/

 

PS We would really like one of these, but probably not quite the image we are looking to portray!

SME Herts Awards – we won!

Team HMB had an evening off to attend the Small and Medium Enterprise Awards at the Watford Coliseum last night – the event was sponsored by the Federation of Small Businesses, Regus, Clydesdale  Bank and a number of local organisations and councils, with over 300 guests and finalists. The opening speech was made by the inspirational David Clarke, British team football captain and three-time Paralympian, and we enjoyed chatting to some amazing people from businesses across Hertfordshire.

Against eight other finalists in the Best New Business award, we took the runner-up spot. Thinking that was it for the night, Gillian kicked off her shoes and I started texting the babysitter to say we would be back soon. When the Hearts Milk Bank was read out as the winner of the Best Not-for-Profit organisation in Hertfordshire, our table erupted! After the presentation and photos were taken, we celebrated with cups of tea, delighted that another room full of people now knew about the work of milk banks. 

So it is back to work with a vengeance this morning – catching up on everything that has happened in the last week with Gillian manning the fort alone (the Shenker tribe took a much-needed break to lovely Wales), and excited for all the plans unfolding. More news coming soon!

Awards sitting in their new home in the HMB office at the UH Biopark!
             

Natalie

Up and running!

After 3 months of hard work in the lab, and thanks to the help and support of so many hundreds of people, we are up and running! We have recruited scores of wonderful milk donors who are sending milk into the bank via the fab SERV volunteer couriers, and the team has been working flat out to process it and make sure our systems are robust and safe. So much good stuff is happening, and we will fill you in properly over the next few days and weeks as it all settles down (um, if it ever does settle down…). But tonight was a night to pause, celebrate our team and eat!

(PS Sending love out to the missing Gillian Weaver, who is currently in Kenya working with PATH to finalise the establishment of the first milk bank in East Africa!)

MassChallenge UK – we won Gold!

Almost the whole HMB team was out in force last night (missed you Silke) to attend the MassChallenge UK Awards ceremony,

As part of the final cohort of 20 finalist organisations, Natalie gave a final 1-minute pitch to an audience of 500 journalists, investors, academics and supporters. Graeme, our Board Chair, was also there, as well as Naomi, milk bank supporter and volunteer, and Dr James Flanagan from the Imperial College Epigenetics Unit. And yes, she really was 20 feet up on a stage…

The tension mounted throughout the evening as speeches were made, and then the awards of the night were announced. We were astonished to hear the words Hearts Milk Bank announced by sponsors VIIV Healthcare as one of the three Gold Award winners for £10,000! The award was presented with Queen belting out ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ in the background – a fitting theme!

 

We have some ambitious plans for how this can be combined with the crowdfunding sum raised at the end of last year that we can’t wait to share once the details have been worked out, and are incredibly grateful to have had the chance to take part in such an energising process as MassChallenge. But before any more calls or emails could be sent this morning, the award had to be thoroughly examined by the smallest Team HMB member….

Onwards and upwards!

Welcome to our blog

We are building up slowly, so please bear with us! The Hearts Milk Bank was established as a social enterprise in May this year. A radical solution was needed to address the postcode lottery premature and sick babies face when donor milk is needed. It has been a very intense few months of organisation, planning and the all-important funding applications, and we will be updating you here on our progress!